Hair -- it's everywhere, literally. The concept of hair is almost vital to the music community nowadays. Whether it's that one Disney heartthrob's primped-to-perfection side-swoop or Steven Tyler's cornucopia of bird feathers, an iconic hairstyle can cement one's place in pop culture. In music especially, wild hairstyles signify the rights of expression that our favorite artists are expected to maintain and are applauded for.
The way an artist cuts his or her hair, like Miley Cyrus circa 2013, or doesn't cut his hair, like the Beatles in the mid-'60s, can shake up pop culture in a way unlike anything else. And it doesn't stop at the artists. Just take a look around Coachella. In fact, it seems like along with a ticket, the flower crown is a prerequisite for girls on the way to their very first music festival in 2014.
We love our musicians and their fascination with hair, and we especially love when these musicians write songs about it -- so below we've compiled a list of our Top 10 songs about hair, with artists ranging from R. Kelly to Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga.
10. "Cut Your Hair," Pavement Pavement takes a jab at the '80s hair bands of their time for solely using their long hair to garner attention. Instead of growing it out, the boys of Pavement take a trip to the barbershop to cut their hair in the music video and remind us that true talent is not measured by how big your hair is, by by your musicianship.
9. "Beard Lust," Natalie Portman's Shaved Head I kind of felt like I had to put this on the list not only because the song is a classic, but also because the band's name totally fits into the theme of this article. Natalie Portman's Shaved Head tackles a very serious epidemic within the male community: beard lust, when you want so badly to grow out your facial hair but just don't have the time OR money to groom it. Sometimes the responsibilities that come with growing out a beard are just too much to handle, I guess.
8. "Pull My Hair," Bright Eyes Bright Eyes take us to the bedroom with "Pull My Hair," a laid-back 1998 jam that is great for lots of occasions: a nice day at the beach drinking some Sunkist under your umbrella, hanging out with friends on a dewy Friday night, or maybe even participating in some of the activities described in the song, if you're in the mood for that.
7. Nina Simone, "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" In case you didn't know, "Black Is the Color (of My True Love's Hair)" is actually a traditional folk song that originated in the Appalachian region in the early 1900s and has been covered by way too many artists to name. However, Nina Simone's piano version is so hauntingly beautiful that I think we can all agree that her version is the best, right?
6. "Lend Me Your Comb," The Beatles You probably haven't heard of this Beatles song because it's also a cover, but we still love it anyway. It's a wholesome tune about sneaking back into your house after a wild night out with your girlfriend and having to ask around for a comb so that your parents don't get suspicious. Sounds like an episode of some '90s Nickelodeon sitcom.
5. "Long Brown Wavy Hair," Led Zeppelin This song is a rare gem from Led Zeppelin since the band performed it only once in 1969. The title pretty much explains it all, and the lyrics are pretty repetitive, but that guitar riff...
List continues on the next page.
4. "Hair Braider," R. Kelly "Hair Braider" is probably my favorite song on the list because it's just so obscure. R. Kelly sings about how he loves when his woman braids his hair, and the music video is literally that -- him sitting on the floor while this woman braids his hair and looks seductively at the camera.
At one point in the song, he even makes a connection between the different styles of braids she makes on his head (zig-zag, spaghetti style) and the different ways he makes love to her. It's great.
3. "I Am Not My Hair," India.Arie feat. Akon This 2006 jam features India.Arie and Akon reminiscing over all the different hairstyles they tried growing up and how they were always trying to fit some kind of mold with each one. The song ultimately inspires us to choose whatever look comes naturally, with Mrs. Arie boldly declaring in the end, "I am not my hair."
2. "Hair," Lady Gaga Lady Gaga is definitely one to change up her hairstyle every now and then, and delves way deeper into the subject with this 2011 song. "Hair" is a powerful electronic track about the struggle of finding your identity at a young age and using your hair as your ultimate form of expression. Gaga has stated that the song was inspired by '80s artists like Iron Maiden and Bruce Springsteen, and there's even a Clarence Clemons sax solo.
1. "Whip My Hair," Willow Smith Willow Smith's 2010 anthem takes our No. 1 spot because it's undeniably the catchiest and most infectious song about taking whatever kind of hairstyle you may have and just flat-out owning life.
The music video is also a huge part of the reason we love this song, featuring Willow single-handedly turning a dull, futuristic mental institution/elementary school into a colorful head-spinning bonanza with everyone getting up and just whipping their hair like there ain't nothin' to it. It definitely makes us want to do the same.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism